12 Ways To Get Your Kids To Eat Better
Published on June 25, 2012 by GirlieGirlArmy · 3 Comments
Do your kids like kale? Neither do most little ones. They do, however, like a lot of other great vegetables including beets, asparagus, brussels sprouts, artichokes, and avocado. Aside from providing much needed vitamins and minerals, veggies also boost the immune system, help protect against disease, improve circulation, regulate digestion, and much more. Here are some tips to keep your little ones nutrition on point;
- Start them young and keep it going! If they like squash and carrots as a baby, keep them in your weekly or daily rotation as they grow. Add a new vegetable once a week. If they enjoy it, you’ll have many more options when it comes to your weekly grocery-shopping and daily “what-am-I-going-to-make-for-dinner?” obstacles.
- Lead by example. Your kids won’t be as inclined to eat their veggies if you don’t either! Also, try new things together. Tasting something for the first time can be scary, but if you’re in it together it can be a bonding experience.
- Pay them! Give them a quarter (or more, or less, depending on their age) to TRY something and double the amount if they eat the WHOLE serving. This was very effective when my kids were toddlers and they still love the occasional bribe (of course, now we’re up to dollars!)
- Variety is the spice. At dinner, put a variety on their plate (squash, AND brussels sprouts AND salad, for example). A biteful of everything is more nutritionally balanced than if they just had one bite of one thing.
- Good in small doses. One tablespoon of spinach or cauliflower is less overwhelming than an adult-sized serving and every little bit that they do eat helps them acquire a taste for healthy foods.
- Get them cooking. When cooking and preparing meals try to involve your children. If they are part of the process, they’ll want to taste the end result. My kids now drink a green juice in the morning because they’re the ones that get to feed the fruits and veggies into the juicer.
- Salads are a great way to get your kids to eat greens. Start with Romaine and you can easily sneak in little bits of kale, spinach, arugula, dandelion greens or anything else that’s dark green and leafy. Homemade dressings that your child gets to shake up can help pique their interest. Most kids like Ranch or Italian dressing. Try a homemade version that your child can make.
- No labels. Don’t label them as “picky eaters”. Kids love labels and will use them as excuses or defining points, when talking to other adults or refusing food offered at a friend’s house.
- Jazz up the food you want them to try. Some fresh herbs or a little salt, or their favorite condiment may increase the chances that they’ll try something. Offer ketchup, soy sauce, teriyaki sauce, BBQ, sweet and sour, mustard, or even chocolate sauce! Whatever it takes to get them to try it.
- This first, then that. If your child is hungry providing them with a snack like crackers or chips might not make the hunger go away. More often than not their bodies are starved for nutrition. Tell them they can have a few chips, but only after they have apple slices, carrot sticks or a banana.
- Juice those veggies! Most kids love fruit juice. And it is easy enough to sneak in a wee bit of kale and carrots to fresh apple juice. If the color changes or becomes more green after doing so call it your famous “Shrek Juice” or something like that.
- Sensitive subject? Food sensitivities are nothing to sneeze at. In fact, sometime kids instinctively avoid foods, not because they don’t like them, but because they don’t like the way they make them feel. Look for the signs. Some symptoms are runny noses, headaches, stomach pain, irritability, sleeplessness, asthma and anxiety. If you suspect a food sensitivity, eliminating that food can do wonders for your growing child.
The Center for Disease Control says that healthy eating in childhood and adolescence is important for proper growth and development and can prevent health problems such as obesity, dental caries, iron deficiency, and osteoporosis.
So, if all else fails, include at least one fruit or vegetable every time they snack or eat a meal. Add a side of baby carrots to the PB & J, or broccoli to a bowl of pasta. It will be much better in the long run if your child knows that fruits or vegetables are part of the meal and not an option, or an afterthought.
Charissa Sharkey is a Certified Health Coach and the owner of HINT (Holistic. Idyllic. Natural. Transformation). Her education has equipped her with extensive knowledge in holistic nutrition, health coaching, and the importance of preventive care. She received her training at Integrative Nutrition in New York City and is certified by the American Association of Drugless Practitioners. Charissa leads workshops on nutrition and offers individual and group health and nutrition coaching to parents and families. For more information, or to reach Charissa, visit her website: www.CoachCharissa.com
Tags: charissa sharkey, childrens nutrition, chilldren eating veggies, greens for kids, healthy kids, kids eating healthy